Entrepreneurship is my heart and mind, but music is my soul: HealthifyMe CEO and musician Tushar Vashisht – YourStory

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In an attempt to make it big in an already crowded market, entrepreneurs often find themselves working round the clock to deliver their best. The startup culture requires one to wake up-hustle-sleep. But an artist’s mind is above it all. 

…The writers, the artists, the dreamers and the outsiders force us to see the world differently.” 
The entrepreneur recently made headlines not for his decade-old startup but for his original music releases. Tushar, along with guitarist Raghu Ramasubramanian, jointly composed and produced two singles, Kahaani and Ud Ja Re
Tushar Vashisht, singer and songwriter
An honest approach to music—meet Goa-based Peter Cat Recording Company
When YS Life caught up with Tushar over a Zoom call, we asked him to choose between entrepreneurship and being an artist. 
While Ud Ja Re brought Tushar into the limelight, it is not his first original composition. A musician since as far as his earliest memories go, Tushar started learning Hindustani Classical music when he was only six years old. 

In fact, Ud Ja Re is Tushar’s seventh original song. An alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania, Tushar was a part of the acapella group Penn Masala. He co-wrote Pehchaan, featuring on an album by the same name. It went on to help Penn Masala win the best college acapella in North America award. It was also the first Hindi song to have won the best college acapella in the US. He also wrote Main Tanha and co-wrote Jeet Le Jahan for Penn Masala, and post college, respectively.

Interestingly, Tushar’s first composition saw the light of the stage when he was only 18 years old. He performed Cry For Peace, an original by him, on national television on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. 
“Ever since I co-founded HealthifyMe, I did not have the bandwidth to write or compose songs as much,” he says. Along with a Penn Masala friend, Tushar composed a remix of Rehna Tu and Shape Of You for their 10th college reunion. But that was it. 

The pandemic and a chance meeting with Raghu pushed him to pursue his hobby full time. 

Raghu, who plays the guitar for singer-songwriter Lucky Ali, was performing at a Sofar Sounds concert in Bengaluru with a jazz fusion quartet when he met Tushar. 
Raghu Ramasubramanian
“It was a rather complex music with mixed metres and a whole lot of key changes,” Raghu recalls. Post the show, Tushar walked up to Raghu with a video of him improvising the latter’s music on stage, “without knowing any sense of form or structure”, Raghu says. 

They almost immediately connected. A couple of meetings and two years later, Ud Ja Re was released.  

For Tushar, his biggest cheerleader continues to be his wife, Neha. A fan since he first performed on stage, Neha has further pushed the entrepreneur to take his hobby just as seriously. 
All the seven songs that Tushar has written and composed so far are based on his life and experiences. 

Ud Ja Re is a song about my life as an entrepreneur and Raghu’s as a musician. It is about taking the leap towards one’s passion…Entrepreneurs like me have taken that leap by quitting their usual jobs to start something new and pursue a purpose,” Tushar tells YS Life.
Tushar and Raghu performing in UB City, Bengaluru in April, 2021
Kahaani, on the other hand, is about losing and finding love. Again, inspired by his life’s journey. Similarly, Cry For Peace, which is yet to be released for the public, found its roots in the Hindu-Muslim conflict. 

Tushar’s music has a strong Indian Classical and Hindustani underlay. With its foundation in classical, his songs always explore elements of Sufi and folk, with a fusion of jazz and rock. 
“With HealthifyMe, I wanted to create an impact in people’s lives. Similarly, I want to inspire people to find their purpose and passion through my music…It will help me achieve my higher purpose,” he says.  

At present, Tushar is working on a couple of new songs, and hopes to collaborate with more musicians and professionals. 
Last Diwali, when he was down with COVID-19, Tushar wrote a song inspired by a son’s letter to his mother, apologising for not making it home during the festivities and ensuring that he was fine. While he has already written and composed the song, Tushar is waiting for the time to produce and release it. He is also working on another song that is based on his personal experience of marriage. 

Speaking on who inspires him, Tushar names legends such as Abida Parveen, Bhemsen Joshi and Pandit Jasraj. More recently, he has been looking up to Arijit Singh and Hariharan. Pre-pandemic, Tushar took music lessons from Omkarnath Havaldar. 

“While HealthifyMe occupies most of my mindspace, I am equally passionate about music and songwriting,” Tushar says. So far, he has been creating one song a year, but going forward, wants to increase that to one song per quarter. 
(Story was updated to add the last image)
Edited by Teja Lele
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